Cover image for By the shore
By the shore
Craze, Galaxy.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
231 pages ; 22 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.3 10.0 35188.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Published to great international acclaim, Galaxy Craze's best-selling debut, By the Shore, launched a young actress into literary fame. In clear and sparkling prose, her novel evokes a fragile, bittersweet world of youth on the cusp of adulthood and "captures perfectly the hopes and hurts of childhood" (The New York Times Book Review).

Twelve-year-old May lives in a less than thriving oceanfront bed-and-breakfast run by her single mother. Her life is filled with the frustrations and promise of youth, complicated by a loving if distracted young mother who strives to care for her two children without forfeiting fun and passion. May puts her faith in the things that elude her -- her absent father, the London city life left behind, the acceptance of the popular girls who have boyfriends -- and wonders if her life will ever change. When a kindly writer and his glamorous editor come to lodge in the weeks before Christmas, opportunities are in the air. But then May's playboy father, estranged from the family for years, drops in and threatens to freeze the delicate new possibilities stirring in all their lives.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

In a remote resort village outside of London, Lucy, her 12-year-old daughter, May, and her 5-year-old son prepare for the quiet off-season. The only guest is the quirky Rufus, who invites May's suspicion when he begins a curious friendship with her divorced mother. Then again, nothing makes sense to May; wherever she finds herself, she doesn't quite fit in. May spits lies and spins fantasies about a happier, glamorous life living in London with her father. Suddenly, her father appears. Childhood innocence rapidly dissipates. Initially, the predictable plot is painstakingly slow, cluttered with numerous subplots and secondary, stereotyped characters. Scant backdrop reinforces May's mindset as the only true place and setting in this oftentimes moving, first-person narrative. The painful echoes of a vulnerable outsider are soothing in their familiarity. A thin slice above the usual pop fiction, this coming-of-age saga has its moments of brilliant insight. --Karen Simonetti

Publisher's Weekly Review

In the first-person voice of a 12-year-old English girl, British actress (David Lynch's Nadja; Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives) and debut author Craze fashions a spare, beautifully evocative tale of love and the youthful need for belonging. May, her six-year-old half brother, Eden, and their unconventional but loving single mother, Lucy, have moved out of London to turn an old girls' school on the coast into a bed-and-breakfast. Accustomed to Lucy's erratic behavior and the shenanigans of her mother's drug-culture friends, May craves merely to be regarded as "a girl from a safe home," to fit in with the other girls at school. As the Christmas holidays approach, only one boarder comes to stay, a mysterious writer named Rufus, aided by his pretty, hip publishing assistant and sometime lover, Patricia. In light, deft strokes, Craze delineates the delicate balance of need and hurt in the lives of her characters. May quietly and subversively wounds her mother while trying to keep her father's influence alive; Lucy's fragile emotional state results in often clumsy maternal care; Rufus makes halting attempts to reach out for intimacy. Through a series of tender epiphanies, the budding romance between Rufus and Lucy is skillfully juxtaposed with May's incipient awareness of the adult world of sex and desire. Before May even realizes that her rou‚ father has arrived, she notices a familiar odor in the house: "I have secretly searched for it in other people's houses, locking the bathroom door, smelling all the soaps and things in bottles." While the plot is so simple as to be predictable, Craze's seemingly effortless touch renders it remarkable and moving. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This debut novel by a 28-year-old indie film actress and New York Universiy writing program graduate is a slight, sad story of a down-on-their luck English family: Mum (Lucy), six-year-old Eden, and the storyteller, 12-year-old May. Mum, who is used to life in London with her chums, runs a bed-and-breakfast by the shore, but the only guest in the bleak winter is writer Rufus, down to finish his novel. A slow friendship evolves between Mum and Rufus, and Rufus and the children, but events seem to conspire against the relationships: Mays self-centered, flashy dad shows up, Rufuss editor tells tales to make it seem as if Rufus is in love with her, and May is out of her depth, coping with her own adolescent trials. The ending brings the family a measure of hope and contentment, however. Seen through Mays eyes, the story merely limns the surface of the characters, so they appear as sketches rather than full-bodied people, and there is little depth to the plot itself. A marginal purchase.Francine Fialkoff, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-When May; her younger brother, Evan; and their mother, Lucy, move from London to a drafty old house on the shore where Lucy runs a bed-and-breakfast, May's adjustment does not go smoothly. At school, only one girl welcomes her as a friend. Business is not good either this particularly bleak winter, but Rufus, a writer in search of solitude, soon takes up residence at the inn. Lucy is flighty, distracted, and still imbued with the hippy culture of her youth. She is not uncaring, but is self-absorbed and thoughtless enough to move May out of her own bedroom to accommodate the new boarder. She is more able to mother the endearing young Evan than the moody 12-year-old. The book is peopled with wonderfully colorful characters: May's irresponsible and arrogant father, whom she finds charming; irrepressible Annabel, Lucy's know-it-all friend and confidant; Evan; and Rufus, the sensitive, appealing, and clueless writer. However, it is May's adolescent voice, as often wise as it is na‹ve, that captures readers' hearts as the girl painfully learns to recognize her parents' weaknesses and her own desperate need for acceptance. Readers will anguish with her as she fabricates grandiose tales to her classmates and empathize as she ponders the mysterious relationships of adults. Moving and unsentimental, the story captures the poignant loneliness of early adolescence that can be as bleak as the English coast in winter.-Jackie Gropman, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.